The titular character created by Downey in the first “Sherlock Holmes” had defied convention. Gone were the once-emblematic deerstalker hat, curved pipe and posh British decorum, replaced by a streetwise, bare-knuckled brawler, whose physical prowess was equal to his superlative mind and preternatural powers of perception.
Director Guy Ritchie says, “One of the most important things about the first movie was to get away from the somewhat dustier, if you will, impression of the character that I think many people were expecting. In keeping with Conan Doyle’s original creation, we wanted to access the physicality of Holmes while conveying his intelligence and wit, and Robert brought all that and more to the equation. There were a lot of little nuances going on that added so much to the role. I find it impossible now to imagine anyone else as Sherlock Holmes.”
Downey reciprocates, “I love working with Guy; it’s such a collaborative process and he has a terrific sense of humor that really comes into play here. On this film, there was an element of rediscovering Sherlock Holmes all over again. We wanted to maintain that sense of fun but with even more gravitas.”
“Robert knew how to get inside Sherlock Holmes’ head—to make him funny and eccentric and yet absolutely believable as the most renowned detective of all time. It was fantastic to watch,” producer Joel Silver remarks.
In the time that has elapsed since the end of the first film, Holmes has been bent on a singular mission, triggered by the revelation that, while he had taken down the evil Lord Blackwood, he had somehow missed an even greater threat. Shrouded in secrecy, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris) had been patiently lying in wait to capitalize on Blackwood’s handiwork.
For the sequel, Downey says, “We wanted to maintain the visceral tone that was part of Guy’s original vision, while presenting Holmes with an even more difficult case, one that would challenge his considerable skills.”
Professor Moriarty not only is Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may give him an advantage over the renowned detective.
Downey concludes, “We see the aftereffects of Holmes having been consumed with Moriarty, to the point that he’s clearly kind of ‘nutting up.’ He’s focused on him to the exclusion of everything else, including, quite possibly, his own sanity,” the actor smiles.
Ritchie emphasizes, “Because they are intellectual equals to a degree, there is the sense that this is a game that is stimulating to them both. In this way, they actually need each other, and that idea is authentic to the books. Holmes needs Moriarty as much as Moriarty needs Holmes.”
Opening across the Philippines on Sunday, Jan. 08, 2012, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.